Pep Guardiola wants Sergio Aguero to stay at Manchester City

MANCHESTER -- Pep Guardiola says he wants Sergio Aguero for as long as possible after describing him as a "special player."

The Manchester City striker has scored 11 goals this season but was surprisingly left out of the starting lineup for the Champions League clash with Barcelona.

It led to speculation that the 28-year-old could be on his way out of the Etihad, although Guardiola insisted it was a tactical decision.

Aguero is in the squad for City's EFL Cup clash with Manchester United on Wednesday and Guardiola praised the way he came back against Southampton after being left out against Barca.

"Sergio played really well the last game. I want to be clear that I am so happy with Sergio, and hopefully he can stay for a long, long time here," he told a news conference.

"When I said it depends on Sergio [when he leaves] it doesn't mean I don't want him to stay. I want, from deep in my heart, that he can stay here and play with us because he's a special player."

Guardiola has repeatedly said that Aguero can give more to the side, but the Spaniard has praised his commitment and says he wants to help him improve.

"He is a striker who scored millions of goals in his career. I know the strikers depend on the moments, sometimes they're good, but we cannot forget how many goals he has scored for us," he added.

"And I'm here to help him. If the team doesn't win, for the short time I am here I think what can I help him to do individually and collectively. If we make mistakes they are my mistakes."